Wreaths Across America launched 2011 campaign to honor every veteran buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Volunteers will place 220,000 holiday wreaths at each veteran’s head stone; Wreaths to travel from Maine to Virginia via convoy of 50 long-haul tractor-trailers
Wreaths Across America has begun its 2011 effort to honor every veteran buried at Arlington National Cemetery. This year the organization’s National Remembrance Ceremony at Arlington will take place on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011 and will be the first in the cemetery’s history of this magnitude. During the day, thousands of volunteers will place a holiday wreath and hold a brief moment of silence at each veteran’s head stone — 220,000 in total. To fulfill its mission, Wreaths Across America seeks to significantly expand sponsorships and wreath donations by mid-November.
Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 by the Worcester family, owners of the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine. The wreath-laying effort began with a simple act of patriotism when co-owner of the Worcester Wreath Company, Morrill Worcester, donated 5,000 evergreen wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery in 1992. Today, the annual pilgrimage from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery is known as the world’s largest veteran’s parade with 50 long-haul tractor trailers from major sponsors making the week-long journey.
“It is our great honor to place a holiday wreath on every head stone at Arlington to ensure that all of those buried on this hallowed ground are uniquely acknowledged and remembered for sacrificing their lives to protect our freedoms,” said Karen Worcester, executive director, Wreaths Across America. “For this reason, we are committed to coordinating this parade, creating and distributing the wreaths and securing the logistical support necessary to successfully execute an event of this scale. Our hope is that veterans across the country will view this event as a symbol of the American people’s profound appreciation.”
The parade will stop at schools, monuments, veterans’ homes and communities along the way to remind people how important it is to remember, honor and teach — in keeping with the organization’s mission to teach younger generations about the value of their freedom and the importance of honoring those who sacrificed so much to protect those freedoms.
This year, including the effort at Arlington, Wreaths Across America will distribute 400,000 wreaths nationwide, providing support for memorials in all 50 states, including special services at Valley Forge Military Academy, Pearl Harbor, Bunker Hill, Charleston Naval Shipyard, and a wreath for every victim of 9/11 in New York City, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa.